If I Could Speak: Letters from the Womb

Mark Jones has adopted an imaginative way to approach the abortion issue by calling himself Zoe who is an unborn girl and who writes fourteen letters from her mother’s womb until she is aborted. The fifteenth letter which completes the book is a letter from the mother ten years later. At first I found the book a little odd in that the unborn child writes like an articulate apologist for life, but once I got over that sense, I found the result convincing, informative and haunting. The book is wellillustrated, and each little chapter begins and ends with a saying, from ‘I can hear your voice’ to ‘God was here once’ (i.e. in the womb) to ‘I wish I were a baby eagle’ to the mother’s heart-breaking response after the event: ‘I miss you’.

Life is a continuity, as Shakespeare in As You Like It spoke of the seven ages that we go through, from infancy to ‘second childishness’, ‘sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything’. Little Zoe cites the Declaration on the Rights of the Child (1959): ‘Whereas the child, by reason of physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.’ Another ‘Whereas’ adds: ‘Whereas mankind owes to the child the best it has to give.’ The UN has seen better days than it sees at the moment. Most compelling is the reference to the incarnation:

‘God so values the womb that He put His beloved Son there.’ The incarnation of the eternal Son of God does not take place at the birth, but the conception. It is, of course, a virgin conception more than a virgin birth. Even when the Messiah was in the womb of Mary, Elizabeth could ask of her: ‘But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’ (Luke 1:43) Mary was not going to become the mother of the Lord; she already was.

Zoe in the womb is quite sophisticated and wideranging in her comments, but at the end she is powerful in her simplicity. She cites Winnie the Pooh: ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’ This leads onto her last crushing word to her mother: ‘I love you; I wish you loved me too.’ The last chapter consists of the letter that Zoe’s mother wrote to her aborted daughter, ten years after the event. There is forgiveness through Christ, but consequences remain. She has been unable to have children.

The culture of abortion is a culture of deception and death, a violation of reality and God’s plan for His world. Mark Jones has opened a window to its almost inexpressible sadness.

Peter Barnes